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A Wasteland of Strangers [Paperback]

Bill Pronzini
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

May 22 2002 Walker Mystery
The author of Blue Lonesome, a New York Times Book Review Notable Book, has created another stunning novel of suspense. Set in a small, isolated town in Northern California, A Wasteland of Strangers is a fast-paced, memorable story about the arrival of a stranger--and the murder of a beautiful, lonely woman.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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From Amazon

Here's a fine modern mystery that would have made a wonderful 1950s B movie. Robert Mitchum would have been perfect as the hulking stranger John Faith, who arrives one day in the faded Northern California resort town of Pomo with a mysterious agenda. Who but Paul Douglas could have played the tough but fair-minded police chief? And the part of Storm Carey, the gorgeous widow feeding her grief with rampant sex, would have been a natural for Jan Sterling or Elisabeth Scott. Bill Pronzini both uses and overcomes these film noir images as he skips from voice to voice to tell a tricky, compelling story. Other books by this excellent writer include Blue Lonesome and--from his Nameless Detective series--Hardcase. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Beneath the surface in the northern California resort community of Pomo swirls a viper's nest of desire, jealousy, loneliness, and crime. When a sexual assault occurs, the obvious suspect is an outsider, John Faith; after all, the sheriff doesn't like Faith's interest in a sexy local widow he fancies himself. Neither does a boozy reporter, who launches a yellow-journalism campaign against the outsider. When the widow is murdered, the town explodes. Pronzini, the author of the extraordinary "Nameless" detective series (see starred review, p.1667), rotates the first-person narrative among the main characters as if they were sitting around a campfire and picking up the story where the previous teller left off. It's a difficult technique to execute successfully, but Pronzini pulls it off by providing each narrator with a unique voice and personal context. The result, as in Stephen Dobyns' Church of Dead Girls , is a thriller in which a small town's fear of the unknown drives the action. Highly recommended. Wes Lukowsky --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Clothes make the Man Nov. 19 1997
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
So very inventive and wonderfully written. The author manages to present each character in three dimensions and true to form. This is a modern vesion of Gottfried Keller's "Clothes Make the Man", showing how outer appearances can create strong prejudice. And, sad to say, conformity is still a must in today's culture. In some European countries, police even set up a raster of neighborhoods, according to the motto: "You don't wear jeans, you are suspect". Big Brother is prejudiced.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, gripping crime novel March 22 2014
By carl brookins - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is another of Bill Pronzini’s intensive, commanding, explorations of then current social ideas and concerns which move a national colloquy in many forums. But this is not a social treatise full of statistics. This is a moving, intense, crime novel, that will captivate and enthrall the reader. Take one large, dangerous looking, individual, John Faith, by name. He’s a traveler, a seeker, a man on the move. Insert this stranger into a small resort community during the off season. This community happens to be in northern California, but such are the author’s skills, it could be anywhere. It could be your hometown.

John Faith is the immediate object of suspicion, because he’s a stranger and he doesn’t look like he belongs. His presence gradually reveals and widens long-standing cracks in the comfortable, biased attitudes and ideas of almost everyone in town. Why has this man come to town? What are his motives? His answers are enigmatic, and even at the end we are left with questions. John Faith’s encounters with the police chief, the bigoted lake-side resort owner, some local Native Americans, and a bartender or two, are like pebbles dropped in a placid pool. The ripples expand and expand until they reach the edge of the pool and die. Except in this case, the ripples grow larger, intersect and become irresistible waves that begin to tear at the base fabric of the town.

This psychological thriller is tightly plotted, and intricately presented. It’s pace is irresistible. “A Wasteland of Strangers” is a thoughtful, satisfying crime novel. Artist Doug Henry has presented a handsome, evocative cover illustration. Highly recommended.
5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clothes make the Man Nov. 19 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
So very inventive and wonderfully written. The author manages to present each character in three dimensions and true to form. This is a modern vesion of Gottfried Keller's "Clothes Make the Man", showing how outer appearances can create strong prejudice. And, sad to say, conformity is still a must in today's culture. In some European countries, police even set up a raster of neighborhoods, according to the motto: "You don't wear jeans, you are suspect". Big Brother is prejudiced.
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